BIGGLES FLIES AGAIN
A History by Richard Whittle
When John Trendler passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve 1996, England lost the Publisher and Editor of Biggles & Co, the only magazine dedicated to the life and works of possibly the most significant children’s author of the Twentieth Century. His widow, Andrea, felt that it was important that the magazine should continue but suggested that it should be under a different title so that 'Biggles and Co.' would always remain associated with her husband John as a tribute to his work.
Norman Wright approached Jennifer Schofield, well known as W.E Johns’ co-biographer with Peter Berresford-Ellis, in an effort to persuade her to take on the Editorship of a replacement magazine. This she agreed to do with the help of the surviving members of the team, namely Paul Marriott, Marie Scofield, Richard Whittle and Ross Williams. Norman Wright and Mary Cadogan would act as advisers, and contribute to the Magazine. Allan Schofield would manage the financial side. After a certain amount of discussion it was decided that the new title should be “Biggles Flies Again – The Captain W.E Johns Magazine.” Design and production was placed with Quacks the Printers, based in York. This was the Company which had hitherto produced the much missed Collectors’ Digest, edited by Mary Cadogan. In view of Jenny’s many other commitments, the new magazine would be published only twice a year. Jenny wrote in her first Editorial:
“Like its predecessor, BFA will have two main purposes. Firstly it will provide a medium for articles about Captain W.E Johns and his work, uncollected or rare stories by Johns himself, and other related material. Secondly, it will act as a focal point to keep us in touch, as in the UK, we prefer meetings organised by different convenors to an Appreciation Society with a formal structure.”
Paul left at the end of 1999 and Alison Thompson took his place as Distribution Manager. In the Summer of 2005 further changes occurred when Ross, Alison, and Allan Schofield were replaced by John Donald as Advertising Manager/Treasurer, with Dan Godfrey taking on Distribution. Following the publication of Issue 2:6, Jenny decided that she would retire, and she nominated Roger Davies to take her place as Editor. Roger chose to use a printing company local to himself in preference to Quacks. Unfortunately Roger was only able to produce two issues before his untimely demise in 2007. Jenny took back the chair, aided by Richard, for one issue, No.2:10, before handing the reins to the Editor incumbent, John Lester, a frequent contributor who was Roger’s choice for his successor. At this stage Richard took on the role of publisher and the printing was consigned to Action Press, based in Burgess Hill, Sussex. One more change took place when, three years ago, John Donald decided to retire, and we were very fortunate in having Dr Dermot Lyons step into his shoes. Thus was born the current editorial team.
With costs increasing and subscriptions falling, from the commencement of Volume 3 it was decided to publish three issues per year, in a bid to attract more readers since, contrary to some peoples’ expectations, there has never been a shortage of material for publication. We hope you enjoy our efforts, and will subscribe for many years to come.